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Barista! Bucket Brigade

Let us now pause to reflect on some of the highlights of working in customer service the last couple of weeks, before moving on to whatever horrors 2007 will bring.

Hot Glove
For our quaint suburban town's annual Christmas Walk, where residents gather in the town center to compare fur coats, the bank next door to us requested we make them 600 hot cocoas for the event. Amidst the craziness of the night, some kid left behind a pair of gloves, which we threw into the back room with the rest of the lost and found. It wasn't until the end of the night, when the bank returned our giant hot cocoa containers, that my coworkers opened the lid to one of them only to discover that one of the gloves had somehow found its way inside the five-gallon cocoa urn and spent the evening floating around in it.

I still find it difficult not to laugh riotously when my memory returns to my coworkers' discovery. Not only because the bank's large cocoa request on this busy night was a major inconvenience for our store, but because I can only imagine where that little glove had been. Wiped across a runny nose or two, I suspect. Or perhaps run along the back of many-a-cute neighborhood dogs on the way to the Christmas Walk. Either way, it makes me smile to picture all those yuppies drinking the delicious free cocoa, garnished with a dirty glove.

Cocoa Puffs
Speaking of large hot chocolate requests, we had another order of 500 around the same time as the Walk. No flavorful gloves this time, but the person who ordered them called and asked if we would only charge them for 250 cocoas, since they didn't actually end up using half of what we made. Ha! I'm going to start trying that one in restaurants and bars and see how far that gets me. "No thanks on the doggy bag, I'll just pay for the portion of the entree that I actually consumed." Right.

Phone Jacks
Additionally, our phone has been ringing off the hook. While I understand that people often call on holidays to verify that we are open, there is a major dumbass difference between "Hi, I just wanted to see if you were open" and "Are you guys open today?"

That was the question posed by my refill bandit buddy on Thanksgiving morning. I had to bite my tongue not to say, "No, I just came in at 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving to answer the phones and tell people we're closed."

But by far, by far, the best phone call we received was on Christmas Eve. It went something like this: "I was in this morning and bought a gift card for someone, but I decided not to give it and thought I'd keep it for myself instead. Can I still use it?"

The crossed all sorts of idiot boundaries, for obvious reasons.

Sympathy Cards
Then I got a kick out of all the customers who did show up on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day (yes, I worked all of them) and made it a point to tell us how sorry they were that we were open. They sincerely and sympathetically asked us why we were open on those days, until those times.

Honestly, if you really felt that bad about it, you wouldn't be standing here giving my boss a reason for us to be open. You wonder why we're here? Probably because you're here!

KC Bowl
And finally, I took a picture of my Christmas gift to the Kids' Corner. It's a bucket I found in the back room, complete with a warning label on the side that is hard not to heed.

barista_0103.jpg

I'm thinking about filling it half full (me, the optimist) and letting Darwin do some selecting. Maybe the parents will start paying better attention after the first few incidents.

*

All in all, despite the quality entertainment of the 2006 holiday season, I am more than happy that it's over. And now that I have reported some of the highlights, it's time to forget it all ever happened.

Maude Perkins is The Beachwood Reporter's pseudononymous service industry affairs editor currently serving time as a store supervisor for a large, publicly-held corporate coffee chain. Catch up with the rest of her heartwarming stories here.



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Posted on January 3, 2007


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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